We all have fears and anxieties, More often than not, they are illusory and have no basis in reality. Much of our angst finds its beginning when we are young and impressionable. Adolescence is a time filled with great imagination. It is also a time when many of our phobias begin. These transfer, over time, into very real apprehensions about the self and our value in the world. I always ask myself, how can I dispel my trepidation and transform it into a powerful tool to produce a positive future?
When I was a little boy, I was terrified of ghosts — specifically, the Boogie Man. (1) This was a demon who lived under my bed. My fright grew to such a level that I was afraid to get into bed without the light on. It then had to remain on a low ebb throughout the night.
Subsequently, the light burned out one fatal night, sometime after I had fallen asleep. Around 4 AM, I awoke with a start, feeling the call of nature. I then realized that I was swathed in total darkness — what horror — what of the Boogie Man? How would I find my way to the washroom? I bolstered myself with artificial courage and was about to begin my journey, when my brother — the evil one — blurted out, “Remember the Boogie Man!” This snapped my legs back into my bed. What to do? Finally, the concern for the judgment of my mother outweighed the terror of the monster.
I thus proceeded to the lavatory. It was then I realized that I had the power over this creature. He couldn’t touch me as long as I continued to move — action! This is where the secret to our fears resides. If we remain entrenched in our perturbation, we will never move forward. This is where the aspect of risk takes shape. Everyone, I think, is afraid to move forward. But the solution to all fears, the distress of the examination; the unease at moving abroad; the worry at the commencement of a relationship; the dread of money, etc., is predicated on action.
Once you begin, there will be a result. Indeed not all good and not all bad, but an outcome that you can analyze and deal with. Failure is a new relationship with the self — potentially a more intimate and empowering one. It is of a great tragedy that some people cannot make the hero’s journey. (2) They become mired in victimhood and defeat. Sadly, unless I have mental problems, life is of my own making. I can truly manage the things that go bump in the night. Iconic philosopher, Michel de Montaigne (3) leaves us with a thought: A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.
A closing thought: Once again, we come to the eternal secret to a fulfilling life — begin, take the initiative! This is true in all instances. Action and inaction are both actions. One has risk and an unknown result — potentially good or, conversely, bad — but the beginning of something real that can be scrutinized nonetheless. The latter produces exactly the same — today and tomorrow. One position has risk and, yet, hope, the other inactivity, and pain. Which would you choose? It is fortunate that most thoughtful people know the answer.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about overcoming our fears.
To be noted: From Napoleon Hill (4) — Fears are nothing but a state of mind.
Just for fun:
This week, on your introspective walk, please muse on how you can control your own fears.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!
Quote: Act and all will be revealed!
1) Boogie Man – Universal Monsters Supercut
2) The Hero’s Journey according to Joseph Campbell – video by Matthew Winkler and Kirill Yeretsky